How to make yourself irresistible (to great prospective team members)
(This article is reposted with permission of the author. It was originally published here.)
My guess is that you fall into one of two camps, when it comes to team. You’re either looking for great team members today – or you will be at some point in the future.
It turns out that when it comes to attracting ideal candidates, it doesn’t matter which camp you’re in. There are things that you need to do today so that you can find the right team members when you need them.
The Day I Nearly Quit My Job
Last week I read a job description that was so good, I was tempted to pack in the business and become a Marketing Executive Assistant. OK, clearly I’d fail miserably in that role but that job posting had a profound effect on me. Why? Because it reflected what I think we all need to be doing when it comes to the future of our teams.
Imagine, for a moment, that you need to hire someone for your team. Like most of us, you consider: a job posting site, LinkedIn and emails to friends and family asking if they know anyone. Then you cross your fingers and hope someone brilliant emerges exactly when needed.
Imagine, instead, you need to hire someone and you open a file that includes the names of people who have registered to be notified as soon as there is an opening on your team. You review the submissions and reach out to those who fit, drawing from a pool of highly motivated candidates. These aren’t just people who need a job, these are people who want to work for you.
Getting It Right
The job description that turned my head was on Michael Hyatt’s site. If you’re not familiar with Michael, he’s a leadership expert and positions himself as a virtual mentor. I’ve been a big fan for some time and have used his goal setting program (Best Year Ever) and platform building programs (Platform University). On his site you’ll find a careers page that, in my mind, gets everything right. You can check it out here.
Let’s break down what works and why it’s so important.
1. Create a home base for prospective team members
Hyatt isn’t alone, but is among a relatively small group who have a dedicated page on the site that is designed for prospective team members. The page lives on the site, whether or not there is an opening on the team. It tells the story of the firm and the team. In so doing it not only puts the firm in a positive light, it weeds out those who simply won’t fit with the culture. That page includes:
- An overview of the company and what you do. This section explains your goals for your clients (your ‘why’) and how you you help them reach those goals (your products).
- The story of your company. This personalizes the company and provides both credibility and context.
- Your values. This outlines what you define as your core values. (Read the list of values on Hyatt’s site and you get a clear sense of the culture and working environment.)
2. Communicate the ‘why’ for prospective team members
Hyatt and his team recognize that attracting the right people means that the firm has to sell itself. Great team members have options. As a result, you don’t want to fall into a trap in which you assume the candidate is doing all of the ‘selling’. On his career page, Hyatt lists the top five reasons someone might want to join his team.
3. Create a pool of qualified candidates
When I linked to Hyatt’s career page, there was a role open for a marketing assistant but I’m quite sure this isn’t always the case. But that doesn’t matter because the page is like a magnet for the right team members. It includes a form to enter your name and email to be alerted when new roles are open. In essence, Hyatt is creating a pool of candidates who have actively expressed an interest in working for the company. More important, they probably made their way to that page because they were on the site and interested in the content, not simply because they saw a job posting.
4. Market new positions
So you’ve set things up to appeal to the right candidates and created an opportunity for them to self-select, irrespective of the role. Now it’s all about the actual job description. You can link to the description below as I assume the job will be filled quickly and the link may not be live on the site itself.
The description itself is well written and includes everything that might be important. To some extent, this is the most traditional part of the process, and necessarily so because you need to get granular about expectations. However, you may want to follow Hyatt’s lead and make some requests of applicants. In this example you’ll see requests for:
- The completion of a 25-minute work assessment, which evaluates problem solving abilities (using the Wonscore Assessment from Wonderlic.)
- A copy of the applicant’s resume
- Three personal and professional references
- Completion of the StrengthsFinder Assessment. There is a $15 cost to complete the core assessment.
- Results of Kolbe A Index test (optional). There is a cost of $49.95 to complete the assessment.
The requests for additional information make something very clear. The firm has done what it can to provide the candidate with all the information they will need to know if the job is right for them. Now the candidate has to do some work to ensure that they are a good fit before you evaluate the resume. That seems fair and weeds out those who aren’t willing to put in that effort.
In a recent post, Michael Kitces wrote about the value of a great team member, comparing it to the value of a key client. There’s no doubt in my mind that finding those great team members will be the difference between good and great. However, we need to get intentional and proactive about how we go about getting on the radar of the most talented people out there. And that means executing a ‘push strategy’ to market ourselves instead of hoping those people will find us when the time is right.